Sunday, November 9, 2008

Some Days Are Good

As with life, in this job you have to take the bad with the good. The first call we had this morning was routine. Man fell down, woman gets scared and calls 911 thinking he's having a CVA (Stroke). We arrive and find that he just tripped and all is well but still want to go to the ER just in case.

About an hour after that, we get a call for the unknown medical call. Now nine times out of 10 these calls turn out to be nothing. Just a tag that the dispatcher gives a run when they don't know what the complaint is. We arrived on scene and was greeted by the PD officer who reported that our patient was in bed and breathing shallow. As we proceeded towards the bedroom, I asked the daughter when the last time anyone saw her was. She replied that the checked on her a few times last night but didn't see her until about 30 minutes ago. At that point she wasn't responding to anyone.

Hearing that, we increased our pace to the bedroom. We soon found our patient. We found her doing very little actually. No shallow breathing, no heartbeat, no response to pain. Her lifeless body cold to the touch. Giving my partner a look, we asked the family to leave and informed dispatch to send an ALS intercept our way.

Once the family left the room the CPR began. I have always thought that the most effective scene for a heart disease commercial would be to show an actual CPR scene. The indignity, the blood, the sound of cracking sternums not to mention the far off stare that the patient has. Yes, all of this would definitely open a few eyes because it wasn't like it seemed on TV.

With ALS enroute, the patient packaged and the D-fib advising no shock, we carried our patient outside. Passed the waiting family, passed the eyes of the curious onlookers who had begun to congregate. Out onto the stretcher and into the bus.

After ALS set up and was ready to go, we proceeded to the ER. But during the trip, something happened. Something that very rarely happened. After the third Epi was on board, a heartbeat could be felt! No that can't be right?! Her age, the history of heart disease and the fact that she was just in the ER yesterday for chest pain all pointed to her not making it.

Yet here is was, a pulse! Soon the monitor confirmed it, she had a rhythm! The rest of the trip was spent maintaining her airway and respiratory rate. Turning her over to the ER staff with a heartbeat was really a great feeling.

Now in this game, CPR saves are a few and far between. Some days you get them and some you don't. It's yet another cold hard lesson of life. But today we actually did it! We actually saved a life. It wasn't a drunk frequent flier or a BS taxi ride to the hospital. We actually made a difference in someone's life!

Yes, these moments are truly a few and far between. So when they come, enjoy them, learn from them, for they won't last forever.


Kristen said...

I like your blog, and I hope you keep it up! As long as it is OK with you, I linked to your blog on my page.
Congrats on the save. They really do make it worth while.

Evil Transport Lady said...

Wow! I hope she continues to recover!

Bernice said...

That is awesome! Congrats and I hope she continues to get better.

Ambulance Mommy said...

Thats totally awesome!!!

Those calls are the reason we put up with the stinky, the drug seekers, the random 3 am stomach aches....because sometimes, we really do get to make a difference.

Good for you!!!

Cheating Death said...

Nice work! My only disagreement concerns having the family leave the room. Sure it makes it easier on us, but studies have shown that allowing the family to witness resuscitation efforts allows for more closure down the line.

It helps to reassure them that everything possible was done.

I am not saying this is your reasoning--but I've always felt that people who didn't want to practice medicine in front of a family member often aren't confident in their abilities.

Good job though. A CPR "save" is a once in a lifetime thing.

Christopher Mader said...

I would tend to agree, however it was a very tiny room and ten extra people in there would have been counter productive to say the least. And my skill set aside, having a daughter myself, I wouldn't want her in the room as two strangers cut of grandma's shirt and start doing all sorts of things to her.

In the long run thought, she is doing well and I'm just glad to have played some small part in her recovery. And hope that her two grandkids (8 and 12) that where there crying can appreciate the second chance that they all have been given. That doesn't happen for everyone.

Michael Morse said...

Nice work!

mac said...

Hi like the blog, I have linked it to mine. Hope you don't mind.
Stay safe